Employees in some industries in California and elsewhere might be wise to take extra precautions when it comes to on-the-job safety. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports fatal workplace accidents nationwide in 2017 claimed 43 fewer lives than in the previous year. The number of occupational deaths in California remained the same as in 2016.
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently cited a ceramics manufacturer and proposed penalties exceeding $250,000. Investigators concluded that the employer committed willful violations that led to the death of a worker. The safety agency says that full compliance with prescribed standards can prevent workplace accidents and save lives.
California victims of work-related injuries are typically entitled to workers' compensation benefits. The same applies to the surviving family members of employees who suffered fatal on-the-job injuries. However, the state-regulated insurance program typically pays benefits that are limited to medical expenses or end-of-life costs along with a portion of lost wages. Third-party cases could be filed if the injury or death resulted from the negligence of third parties not linked to the same employer. In those circumstances additional financial relief might be obtained through the civil justice system.
Working on and around tractors pose multiple hazards on farms and any other industrial facilities where these vehicles are used. California employers are responsible for the safety and health of their employees, and this responsibility includes providing adequate safety training and ensuring that only qualified operators use these vehicles. Unfortunately, not all employees receive the necessary protection, and preventable workplace accidents happen.
The safety of workers at Amazon facilities has been the subject of many discussions in recent months. Workplace accidents at this company's warehouses have caused many injuries and even deaths nationwide. The most recent incident claimed a worker's life at a California facility.
Learning that a loved one suffered a fatal on-the-job injury is not something wished on anybody. Workplace accidents happen at any time, and a California family had to deal with such trauma as they greeted the New Year. According to the Los Angeles Fire Department, they responded to a Sun Valley business after receiving an emergency call at about 8 a.m. on Dec. 31.
The last thing wished on any family during the holidays is losing a loved one in circumstances that might have been prevented. According to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health compliance with safety regulations can prevent workplace accidents, but sadly, lives continue to be lost on construction sites. A recent incident claimed the life of a 39-year-old resident from Woodland.
While those who live in the path of the devastating wildfires in California fear for their lives, brave firefighters work to protect property and lives. In many cases, firefighters from other states come to help, as is the case with the Woolsey Fire that erupted on Nov. 8 in Southern California. These workers battle the fires for hours on end without rest, sometimes leading to tragic workplace accidents.
The fact that employee fatalities are so rare in the California wine country might bring about complacency in employers and workers. However, workplace accidents do occur, and it appears the recent death of a worker at a vineyard in Napa is the first since another fatal incident last spring. In that accident, a Fairfield man became trapped underneath a tractor in a vineyard in Sonoma Valley when he was crushed while cleaning an implement on the machine.
Truck operators in the oil and gas industry face many occupational hazards, one of which is fatigue. It might never be known whether fatigue caused a recent fatal crash involving an oilfield bucket truck. The California Highway Patrol reported that this accident happened on Highway 58. A workers' compensation claim will likely be filed by the surviving family members of the young driver who lost his life in this crash. CHP says the accident happened in Kern County.